Please help the Black Earth Institute continue to make art and grow community so needed for our time. Donate now »

a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society


Section IV: Washer General - Harriet“The Washer General  – Harriet”

The Washer General – Harriet

Crowing totems trumpet the new day dawning.
Sunrays stretch the washtub ensnaring her shadow
As her washboard pleats unfold her thoughts in moving air.
Pasty ivory froth dances the pulse in her dark hands
Twisting and ringing the fancies of three hundred Summers
Releasing her foamy Spring water generations
Where our low voices drift behind intellect
Professing wash wood stories
Pumping beyond cistern wells of forgetfulness
Sounding beyond the Washer General’s swishing skirts,
Swirling her fierce resolve.

Blue traces under her fingernails conjure
Bayou-thumped illusions of whiteness, tub side down
Thrashing crocodile-sized molecules against vernal rocks
Breaking Bo-Diddley string-tied bonds
Loosing bound soil from its cloth master
She strums caustic liquor to pluck myth from its stained-bar magic.

Her soda ash bubbles storm the fibrous cabal
Prescribed for our arduous daily mantras
Summoned by soiled Blue/Gray garments of Civil Rebellion
Where uniform blue mixed with red becomes uniform brown.
The stench of these gray star chambers organize to prevent our rainbows from rising as if rainbows of custom hardened colors
Could be stopped from meeting your acidic mid-day secrets.

The Washer General spies into the water
Through the backs of her eyes concealed in their caged sockets.
Her scouring pricks each prism of the North celestial guide.
Her scrubbing floats the concaved chasubles.
Pressing, beating to imprint the opprobrious stone
She counts to calculate the multi-hued layers soaking,
Soaking necessary to lift labor’s dishonor before sizing our impending freedom.

Gazing at her on-line clothespins she secures our flag-like prayers
While we keep quiet like fish wearing cyan shawls of silence
Racing in her dark waters we join her buoying forces
Wrapped in the accordion music of her South Carolina squeegee.
Our new file flanks past the Combahee River, the rustic Hudson, the Harbor tea.
At twilight we witness the banks of reason where, hidden in plain view, she drapes the line hanging sylvanite handbill warnings
Seen in the swelling mercury of watching eyes.

L’Merchie Frazier




©2024 Black Earth Institute. All rights reserved.  |  ISSN# 2327-784X  |  Site Admin